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Interest in tactical medicine, the provision of medical support to law enforcement and military special operations teams, continues to grow. The majority of tactical physicians are emergency physicians with additional training and experience in tactical operations. A 2005 survey found that 18% of responding Emergency Medicine (EM) residencies offered their resident physicians structured exposure to tactical medicine at that time.
This study sought to assess interval changes in tactical medicine exposure during EM residency and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) fellowship training. A secure online survey was distributed electronically to all 212 EM residency programs and 44 EMS fellowship programs in the United States.
Responses were received from 99 (46%) EM residency and 40 (91%) EMS fellowship programs. Results showed that 52 (53%) of the responding residencies offered physician trainees formal exposure to tactical medicine as part of their training (P < .0001 compared to 18% in 2005). In addition, 32 (72%) of the 40 responding EMS fellowships (newly established since the initial survey) offered this opportunity. Experiences ranged from observation to active participation during tactical training and call-outs. The EM residents and EMS fellows provide support to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. A small number of programs (six residencies and four fellowships) allowed a subset of qualified trainees to be armed during tactical operations.
Overall, training opportunities in tactical medicine have grown significantly over the last decade from 18% to 53% of responding EM residencies. In addition, 72% of responding EMS fellowships incorporate tactical medicine in their training program.
Petit NP, Stopyra JP, Padilla RA, Bozeman WP. Resident involvement in tactical medicine: 12 years later. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(2):217–219
The History, Electrocardiogram (ECG), Age, Risk Factors, and Troponin (HEART) score is a decision aid designed to risk stratify emergency department (ED) patients with acute chest pain. It has been validated for ED use, but it has yet to be evaluated in a prehospital setting.
A prehospital modified HEART score can predict major adverse cardiac events (MACE) among undifferentiated chest pain patients transported to the ED.
A retrospective cohort study of patients with chest pain transported by two county-based Emergency Medical Service (EMS) agencies to a tertiary care center was conducted. Adults without ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) were included. Inter-facility transfers and those without a prehospital 12-lead ECG or an ED troponin measurement were excluded. Modified HEART scores were calculated by study investigators using a standardized data collection tool for each patient. All MACE (death, myocardial infarction [MI], or coronary revascularization) were determined by record review at 30 days. The sensitivity and negative predictive values (NPVs) for MACE at 30 days were calculated.
Over the study period, 794 patients met inclusion criteria. A MACE at 30 days was present in 10.7% (85/794) of patients with 12 deaths (1.5%), 66 MIs (8.3%), and 12 coronary revascularizations without MI (1.5%). The modified HEART score identified 33.2% (264/794) of patients as low risk. Among low-risk patients, 1.9% (5/264) had MACE (two MIs and three revascularizations without MI). The sensitivity and NPV for 30-day MACE was 94.1% (95% CI, 86.8-98.1) and 98.1% (95% CI, 95.6-99.4), respectively.
Prehospital modified HEART scores have a high NPV for MACE at 30 days. A study in which prehospital providers prospectively apply this decision aid is warranted.